UPDATED: August 2023
Youth Programming Policies
The diocese is committed to ensuring that all children and youth programming is offered in a safe environment by staff or volunteers who have received appropriate training.
- A valid PIC or CRC is completed prior to the beginning of the program. All originals should be stored at the synod office.
- Safe Church Training certification prior to the beginning of the program. Proof of this training will be filed through our safechurch training program, Praesidium. In-person training proof should be stored at the synod office.
- A Youth Program Policy Acknowledgement Form signed by the Youth Programming Teachers/Leaders (attached below). This should be stored at the parish. An update from the safechurch liaison will be sent to the synod office stating that all policies are being followed. This communication will be filed at the synod office.
- There must always be two adults (over the age of 19) present regardless of the number of participants for the protection of the children and the primary instructor.
- In addition to always making sure there are two adults present, the following ratios apply.
A) With children less than 36 months, a ratio of 4:1 for children and primary instructors.
B) With children older than 36 months, a ratio of 8:1 for children and primary instructors.
- A first aid kit should be present, and the primary instructor should know its location.
- An emergency plan should be in place and a muster station chosen and known to all.
- A binder should be kept containing a participant form (attached below) with the following record:
A) The names of each participant with their parents’ names and contact information. The preferred numbers to call in case of an emergency.
B) Any allergies or medical conditions the participant has.
C) Any conditions or safety information (such as a parent who is not allowed to contact or to pick-up the child).
An email address should be set-up by the parish administrator for children's programming. All communication should be handled through that parish email account and not a private account.
Communication concerning programming should always be directly with the parents. There is to be no private communication with children under the age of 19. Private communication through email or any form of social media (such as facebook or instagram) is not allowed, even with parental consent. Should a parent wish for direct communication with their child to encourage independence, a parent may provide an email for them. However, all communication with the child through that email address should be cc:d to the parent.
As a leader of children's programming, you may provide a personal cell phone number to parents to use in case of emergency or last minute communication. If a child is given your cell phone number, it should be something that is provided through the parent and with their permission. The child should be discouraged from texting you, unless it is absolutely necessary (for example, to locate you and the rest of the group on a field trip should they become separated).
Social Media and Photography
Programs should ask parents to sign a media release consent form and respect the wishes of anyone who does not want their photograph taken or shared on social media (website, facebook etc.). A media consent form is attached below.
In the Event of an Injury or Illness Emergency:
- Attend to the person in need and remain with them until the paramedics arrive.
- Use the binder to update the paramedics about any health conditions or medication.
- If the person in need is less than 19 years of age and their parent has not arrived, they should also accompany the minor in the ambulance and to the hospital until their parent(s) arrive.
Secondary Supervising Adult or Instructor
- Call 9-1-1 first, then the emergency contact numbers for parents.
- Please make sure the parents have the cell phone number of the primary instructor if they are accompanying their child to the hospital.
- Take charge of the remaining youth in the program.
- Make sure the participant form for the injured child is given to the primary instructor to take in the ambulance.
- If the primary instructor leaves in the ambulance, this is the only time an adult should be alone with the children until their parents come pick them up. Please use your best judgement to decide if parents should be called right away or supervision is possible to the end of the session.
In the Event of other Emergencies (possible Missing Children or a Fire etc.):
- A muster station should be chosen and should be shown to everyone before a program begins.
- The procedure for a missing child should be established prior to the beginning of a program. Who calls the police and parents and who focuses on supervising the other children should be clearly defined. These situations are time sensitive and a clear message from one person helps the police collect information and act.
Guidelines for youth programming will be provide annually by the synod office to assist and support parishes in providing a safe environment.